A select group of Skyline College students recently honed their leadership skills at a special invitation-only conference in San Diego for math-based majors. The event was sponsored by the California Utilities Diversity Council.

The 10th annual Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement (MESA) Student Leadership Conference held last weekend offered extensive professional and leadership development through direct interaction with industry mentors and speakers. The hand-picked MESA students, all science, engineering, or math majors, represented over 30 universities and community colleges from across the state, including Skyline College.

Participating Skyline College students were:

Cristina Autry, Sophomore, Bioengineering

Mathew Ennis, Sophomore, Physics

Joana Franco, Sophomore, Engineering

Johana Quandt, Sophomore, Civil Engineering

Students participated in mock interviews, connected with industry representatives from 16 national and California companies and heard guest speakers. MESA alumnus Senator Alex Padilla encouraged students to work hard and strive for success, and was honored with the MESA Outstanding Alumni Award.

Skyline College students were sponsored by Pacific Gas & Electric Company. Their generous contribution allowed students from Northern California campuses to attend. Pacific Gas & Electric Company employees volunteered their time to work closely with the students during the conference.

“We know that California’s economy needs more STEM workers to stay competitive,” said MESA Executive Director Oscar F. Porter. “These students provide the solution to industry’s need for well-trained professionals.

“They were selected to attend the conference because these students have strong leadership skills. This event gives them a chance to interact extensively with STEM professionals currently working in industry,” said Porter.

Student attendees represented the following campuses: CSU Chico, CSU Fresno, CSU Long Beach, CSU Los Angeles, CSU Sacramento, San Diego State University, San Francisco State University, San Jose State University, Sonoma State University, UC Riverside, UC Santa Barbara, UC Santa Cruz, University of the Pacific, American River College (Sacramento), Bakersfield City College, City College of San Francisco, College of the Sequoias (Visalia), Cosumnes River College (Sacramento), East Los Angeles College, El Camino College (Torrance), Los Medanos College (Pittsburg), Pasadena City College, Rio Hondo College (Whittier), Sacramento City College, San Diego City College, Santa Ana Junior College, Santa Barbara City College, Skyline College (Redwood City), Southwestern College (Chula Vista), and Yuba College (Marysville).

MESA promotes STEM success for more than 28,000 educationally disadvantaged secondary, community college and four-year college students in California through project-based learning, academic counseling and exposure to STEM careers, so they can graduate from college with math-based degrees. Seventy percent of MESA high school graduates statewide went directly to college after graduation compared to 48 percent of all California graduates. Sixty percent of MESA students go on to math, science or engineering majors.

For more information visit the MESA site.

Article by Danielle McNamara, MESA Statewide Office.